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Kiri: Is the Channel 4 drama based on a true story?

KIRI is Channel 4’s thrilling new four-part drama which started last night. The show was penned by Harry Potter and the Cursed Child writer Jack Thorne, who has revealed his real-life inspiration for the story.

Is Kiri real?

The new Channel 4 show premiered last week Wednesday and the tragic first episode had audiences gripped from the very start. 

Kiri follows dedicated social worker Miriam Grayson (played by Sarah Lancashire), whose life is thrown into chaos after a nine-year-old black her girl (Felicia Mukasa) in her care goes missing.

The schoolgirl is abducted during an unsupervised visit with her grandparents that Miriam insisted on and organised and later found dead.

What follows is a media witch hunt against the social worker as somebody has to take the blame. 

Kiri is a fictional story inspired by creator Jack Thorne’s mother and her job as a carer.


When asked why he wanted to write about children in the social care system, Jack simply said: “Because of my mum.”

The This Is England screenwriter added: “She worked with adults with learning difficulties. 

“The issues are sort of the same – the idea of being responsible for someone that is vulnerable, and making decisions on their behalf, and being responsible for those decisions. So I grew up hearing lots of stories about the different things that were going on at my mum’s work. 

“She worked in a day centre for a bit, and in residential care for a bit. Just hearing different stories about what was going on it always intrigued me.”


Channel 4

Sarah Lancashire plays social worker Miriam and Felicia Mukasa plays Kiri

What is Kiri based on?

The tragic drama of a missing girl and the struggle to find her amid tough questions about race is based on the writer’s mother's experiences of working with adults in the social care system in the UK.

To research ahead of writing the screenplay, Thorne said he spoke to a real social worker and police advisor.

“The social worker not only talked through the facts, and how Miriam’s life would be, but also talked through the philosophy behind the profession, and helped us find the philosophical position for the show.”

He added: “We started talking about social work, and because my mum was in the caring profession, it seemed very interesting. 

“We talked about the news stories you hear about, relating to kids in the system. We wanted to find a way of looking at that, and then it grew from there.”


Channel 4

Searching for Kiri

When does Kiri start on Channel 4?

Kiri started on Channel 4 last Wednesday, it continues tonight (Wednesday, January 17) at 9pm.

It will also be available to stream on Hulu. 

The main character, Miriam, is played by Happy Valley star Sarah Lancashire, who says she was immediately drawn to the script.

“I was so excited when I received this piece,” she said. 

“I thought Miriam was fantastic when I read her. She kind of got under my skin very quickly.“

Kiri starts tomorrow on Channel 4 at 9pm.